LIKE a large number of people, when I saw the proposal for a cover on the High Street, I was not immediately impressed.

However, having given the subject some further consideration, I think the idea might be worthy of investigation.

Taunton (like many other places) has suffered from a significant drop in the number of people that visit the town, as online retailing continues to grow. Most professional retail opinion suggests that town centres need to change, to offer more in the way of a leisure experience, in order to maintain their value.

Somerset has a large number of producers of food and drink, and especially products which are just that little bit different from the standard range found within supermarkets. These products can be popular with both regular and seasonal visitors, as might be seen by their reaction to the offerings available at the temporary Christmas markets.

A covered area in the High Street might allow a mixed use space that could provide a facility for an expanded market to sell these types of products all year round, with farmer's markets on perhaps two days a week.

On other days, the same space could perhaps provide a facility for local artisans to demonstrate their skills and wares.

READ MORE: Proposal to build a ROOF over Taunton High Street in bid to boost trade

It might also be possible for cultural activities, street theatre, music events, which a large number of County Gazette respondents have said they would like to see.

There might well be other opportunities; schools might display the work of children which is far too often not even seen by parents, social groups could hold events to attract new members or promote their work.

Instead of being a quiet backwater of the town, it could become a thriving place, something that would be of interest to a lot more visitors.

It might even be possible to extend the hours during which these events might take place, and this could attract many more people who might choose to visit the town.

There is a bus stop right by the bottom of the High Street which might allow it to be integrated with the Park and Ride scheme, and so avoid increasing traffic levels.

It's probably worth highlighting that the money for this is from a grant fund specifically for improvements works within town centres from central government; it should not therefore cost local rate payers anything.

If Taunton doesn't apply for it, someone else will; and we might well lose out to other towns.

At this stage, it costs nothing to make an application; if it were to be approved, there might then be consultation to see how it might develop; and quite probably it would look nothing like the sketch on the front cover of the County Gazette. But it is an opportunity that should not be missed – nothing ventured, nothing gained; and I for one, would at least like to see the council try to do something to revive the current state of the town centre.